Giovanni Giuseppe Baptista Gioeli, better known as Johnny Gioeli, is an Italian-American singer known as the current vocalist of Axel Rudi Pell, Hardline and Crush 40, who has done work for the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
Johnny's musical career began in the early 1980s after forming the band Phaze with his older brother, Joey. The band underwent reform and he started drumming with the band Killerhit in 1983 at the age of 17. Sharing vocal duties with Joey the four-piece act hit the East Coast club circuit with an enormous amount of success, earning enough by 1987 to purchase their own lighting rig, truck and tour bus (purchased from Jimmy Buffett).
Re-locating to Hollywood, Killerhit hooked up with Poison's Bret Michaels. The singer gave them his former publicist Debra Rosner's number who instantly became the band's manager. Realizing the need for a front man, Johnny vacated the drum stool for center stage, Las Vegas native Darek Cava taking his place behind the drum kit. Soon after the band switched names to the more appropriate Brunette. The band broke The Doors and Van Halen's single-weekend attendance records on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood CA. Their sensation soon brought attention and admiration to the recording industry. They were courted by top record executives for months. The band had built a loyal world wide fan base. Differences began to develop in the Brunette camp before a recording deal could be secured, and the band decided to call it quits in 1991. He then started working with his brother Joey on songs for an album they were going to call Brothers. However, Neal Schon, Journey's guitarist (who was dating their sister at the time) met with them and asked if he could play with them, and they agreed. Then in 1992 they released their first effort, entitled "Double Eclipse," and called themselves Hardline which was moderately successful but not enough to get into the mainstream, especially considering its post-Nirvana release. After this they began writing songs for a second album but once again called it quits while recording the songs due to troubles with their manager and Neal Schon. Johnny had all but disappeared from the music scene until, in 1997, German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell found himself in need of a vocalist after the departure of Jeff Scott Soto. Axel had admired Johnny for a long time, saying he always thought Johnny's vocals would go well with his music. Axel eventually found means of contacting Johnny and flew him to Germany to record vocals for his Oceans of Time CD, which up to date has been considered as one of the best Axel Rudi Pell albums so far. He is now the permanent lead vocalist of the band and shows no signs of leaving.
He also participated in a compilation album called "Voices Of Rock - MMVII", released on 20 July 2007 where he performed the song "Phoenix Rising". Johnny also collaborated with musician Doug Aldrich and performed the vocals for the song "Face Down" featured on Aldrich's "Alter Ego" album in 1994.
Work with Jun Senoue
According to an interview, Johnny did not know much about composing music for video games ("Pong" was the first thing that came to mind) until Jun explained it to him. Gioeli has been working with video game composer and musician Jun Senoue and has delivered his vocals in the Sons Of Angels CD, Thrill Of The Feel, released in 2000. The band has since changed their name to Crush 40 where Gioeli and Senoue have written and performed several songs in recent Sonic the Hedgehog games, such as the theme song "Sonic Heroes", a bright, melodic song and in contrast to "What I'm Made Of...", a distinctly dark, energetic hard rock song with metal sensibilities for the final struggle of the game. He was also the vocalist for the songs "Open Your Heart", the main theme of Sonic Adventure, "Live and Learn", the main theme of Sonic Adventure 2, "I Am... All of Me", the main theme of Shadow the Hedgehog, and "Never Turn Back", the ending theme from the same game. Additionally, Gioeli has worked with Senoue to produce a cover of Runblebee's "Seven Rings in Hand", which was featured exclusively on the Japan-only release True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog. He also wrote the chorus for the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) game theme song "His World" and recorded a version of the song with Crush 40 (featured as a bonus track on the game's official soundtrack). Because of his close ties musically to the video game series, Gioeli is often considered by fans to be the singing voice of Sonic.
Gioeli worked on the soundtrack to Sonic and the Black Knight. In October 2008, Gioeli and Senoue took the stage at the Tokyo Game Show to perform some of their most popular Sonic-based songs in front of a live audience for the first time. Gioeli and Senoue have since created a YouTube account and uploaded video footage of the event.
In 2009, a new Crush 40 album was released entitled The Best of Crush 40 - Super Sonic Songs. This album contains most of Crush 40's Sonic the Hedgehog releases as well as a mixture of old tracks from the NASCAR '98 arcade game and some brand-new songs including a cover version of the Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity theme song, "Un-Gravitify", a cover of the Cult's "Fire Woman" and a new song entitled "Is It You". The album also contains four newly mixed tracks. Much later, Gioeli lent his voice to the song "Green Light Ride" for Team Sonic Racing.
In 2012, an EP titled Rise Again was released. It contained four songs; "One of Those Days," "Rise Again," "Sonic Youth," "Song of Hope." A live album was also released during the same year.
In 2015, Crush 40 released a second live album titled 2 Nights 2 Remember, featuring 4 newly-recorded songs; "2 Nights 2 Remember", "Big Mouth", "Light of the Day" and "Down and Dirty".
In an interview in early 2019, Gioeli revealed that Crush 40 was working on a second 'Best Of' album, to be released in late 2019-early 2020.
- Sonic the Hedgehog series:
- Sonic Adventure
- Sonic Adventure 2
- Sonic Heroes
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Sonic and the Black Knight
- Team Sonic Racing
- Sonic and the Black Knight is the current title with the highest number of debuting vocal songs performed by Gioeli in any given game or media of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, totaling to four songs.
- Including Crush 40, Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell and other affiliations, Johnny has appeared in well over sixty albums across his career.
- In addition, Gioeli has been associated with over half a dozen other bands and artists, including Restless Spirits, Robert Rodrigo Band, Hermann Rarebell (former drummer of Scorpion), Wolfpakk, Gioeli-Castronovo, Accomplice, and Doug Aldrich.